An evaluation study into possible ways to develop Sharjah’s Khorfakkan port is expected to be released ‘imminently’, according to a source close to the project.

The study is being conducted by the UK consultancy Halcrow, a firm that has worked with the port for over three decades. The port, which is situated on the coast of the Indian Ocean, is operated by Sharjah’s Gulftainer.

The need to expand the port is growing as Khorfakkan faces rising levels of throughput. Gulftainer announced in mid-February that throughput hit 3.3 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEU) in 2012, marking an increase of 28 per cent on the previous year’s figures.

To meet this growing demand, there is a need to develop more quay space and extra berth, as well as procuring more equipment to load and unload ships.

Possible solutions to the port’s capacity issue include building a new breakwater berth or developing two slightly smaller variations of a breakwater berth.

Overall trade volumes for all of Gulftainer’s ports, which include ports in Iraq, Lebanon and Brazil, rose by 24 per cent in 2012 compared to the previous year.